Lawrence Township Schools asks voters to raise $191M

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A $191 million capital referendum is on the ballot Tuesday to renovate all Lawrence Township Schools.

News 8 witnessed some students at Lawrence North High school doing their assignments inside the cafeteria. Schools leaders have confirmed it’s because the air conditioning isn’t working in some classrooms.

“There are some things about our building that we do need to modernize and upgrade and when students are uncomfortable they’re not gonna learn at the level that we want them,” said Superintendent Shawn Smith.

RELATED: Voters get set to select mayors, consider referendums Tuesday

Bad pluming, poor heating and air-conditioning units, a leaking roof, older classrooms and hallways exist at Lawrence North and Central high schools.

The community will vote on a property tax increase of 0.2499 cents per $100 of home valuation.

“For a house of $153,000, which is the average home in Lawrence Township, it’s about $14-a-month increase is what we’re asking of our citizens,” Smith said.

If voters approve the referendum, $161 million will go toward both high schools and $30 million will help complete renovations to four elementary schools and early learning centers in the district.

Improvements also would include new front entrances to all the schools.

“Extensive research has been done to ensure that these primary entry points for the buildings now reflect the current standard to minimize the potential for any dangerous situation or the entry of someone who should not be coming into our buildings,” said Dana Altemeyer, director of communications.

It’s the first time the school district has asked for a referendum, and one of the last districts to do so in Marion County. Funds from the referendum would be collected over the course of 20 years and construction would begin June 1.

“We need to make that investment in our current and future generations. Strong schools translate to strong communities and they protect property values,” Altemeyer said. “As a parent and a resident of Lawrence township this is a really exciting time for our district.”

ONLINE: Plans if referendum is approved

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